Battle of the Conkers and morris dancing at The Henty Arms

Conker festival at the Henty Arms, Ferring SUS-180810-112605001
Conker festival at the Henty Arms, Ferring SUS-180810-112605001

Traditional dancing met intense conker-on-conker combat at The Henty Arms in Worthing.

Sompting Village Morris dancers gathered on the grounds of the Ferring Lane pub and joined locals for the annual Battle of the Conkers.

Dancers of all ages joined the festivities, from seasoned professionals to Morris Minors as young as five.

No doubt competitors had been up all night soaking their conkers in vinegar, roasting them in the oven or concocting similar elaborate schemes to give themselves the upper hand.

More than 40 dancers, musicians, visitors and their families were there to enjoy the festivities.

Lyn Thomas, the secretary, or ‘bag lady’, of Sompting Village Morris dancers, said: “The Henty Arms enjoys putting events on in their grounds,” she said.

“The morris group started off doing a few dances, then the conker fights started.”

Boiled eggs and tomatoes on strings were provided for those anxious about receiving bruised knuckles.

The winner of each bout collected the loser’s string and the owners of the most ‘dead strings’ were crowned King and Queen at the end of the day, on September 22.

Golden conker crowns were handed out to the victors and sweets were dispersed among all of the competitors by Henty Arms landlord Vernon Carlyle.

Sompting Village Morris perform weekly at fates, events and festivals across the south of England.

The climax of their calendar is May Day, where performers kick off festivities at 6am in Shoreham and spread their festive cheer across Sussex.

The tradition of morris dancing stretches back to 1448, when dancers performed as part of the Goldsmiths Company in London.

More Sompting Village Morris events leading to and over Christmas can be found by logging on to www.somptingvillagemorris.org.uk

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